Hazardous Materials & Safety

Hazardous Materials & Safety

Among the most hazardous materials that we commonly use include the complex hydrocarbons known as the polymers. For example, the complex hydrocarbons comprise of many grams per mole of molecules according to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (Kägi, 2014). There are two types of polymer including synthetic and natural polymers. Natural polymers make most of the body structures including DNA, cellulose, starch, and protein. On the other hand, synthetic polymers include polyethylene, polycarbonate and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is generally used in the making of office/household goods, clothing, furnishing, and outdoor gadgets (Meyer, 2014). Most synthetic polymers are plastics; however, there are other polymer categories including thermosets, thermoplastics, and elastomers. For instance, thermoplastics usually tend to return to their original form after softening during heating. On the other hand, the polymers that cannot be restored to their original condition once they have solidified are known as thermosets while the polymers that possess a characteristic of elasticity are known as elastomers and include rubber (Kägi, 2014). Therefore, this paper discusses complex hydrocarbons as a hazardous material by stating the negative impacts they pose to the environment.

Why Polymers Are Hazardous Materials

Polymers are stable at ambient conditions; however, they form harmful products when they are burnt. For instance, polymers usually convert to toxic gases during combustion (Meyer, 2014). The poisonous gases produced during burning regularly pollute the environment and irritate breathing in living things. Most of the polymers are non-biodegradable hence their improper disposal further pollutes the environment. For instance, plastics paper bags and utensils which are widely used in homesteads contribute largely to environmental pollution by causing both water and land degradation (Meyer, 2014). They are usually disposed of responsibly thus distorting the environmental attractiveness. The plastics further releases carbon monoxide which is harmful to the health of all living organisms.


Polymers have proved to affect the environment in various ways adversely. Thus, measures to curb the menace should be adopted by both relevant government and manufacturing industries to help reduce their toxic impact. For instance, the various government has banned the use of plastic paper bags while industries should adopt recycling procedures to reduce the poisonous gases exposed to the environment.



Kägi, J. H. (2014). Metallothionein II: Proceedings of the «Second International Meeting on Metallothionein and Other Low Molecular Weight Metal binding Proteins,» Zürich, August 21–24, 1985 (Vol. 52). Birkhäuser.

Meyer, E. (2014). Chemistry of hazardous materials (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.